Meaning of FUTURE in English


1. the time after now

2. at some time in the future

3. at a specific time in the future

4. what will happen to someone or something in the future

5. likely to happen in the future

6. likely to be or do something in the future




see also









1. the time after now

▷ the future /ðə ˈfjuːtʃəʳ/ [singular noun]

the time, especially a fairly long time, after now :

▪ Ellen’s finishing college soon but she doesn’t really have any plans for the future.

▪ As for the future, Tucker said she intends to take a well-deserved break before deciding what to do next.

of the future

that will exist in the future

▪ The car of the future may run on solar-powered batteries.

future [adjective only before noun]

future date/time

▪ We agreed to consider the matter again at a future date.

▷ ahead /əˈhed/ [adverb]

in the future - used especially when you know you will have problems or difficulties in the future :

the day/week/months ahead

▪ David had his breakfast and thought about the day ahead.

▪ Unemployment in the region is expected to grow in the months ahead.

lie ahead

▪ The government faces some difficult decisions in the months which lie ahead.

ahead of

▪ I know there are some big problems ahead of us, but I’m sure we can overcome them.

▷ to come /tə ˈkʌm/ [adverb]

generations/years/a long time to come

for a long time in and affecting many people in the future :

▪ In years to come, people will look back on the 20th century as a turning point in history.

▪ Nuclear power stations will still be needed for a long time to come.

▷ be still/yet/more etc to come /biː ˌstɪl tə ˈkʌm/ [verb phrase]

to not have happened yet but going to happen in the future, especially soon in the future :

▪ The best is still to come -- there’s chocolate ice cream for dessert.

▪ The worst of the storm was still to come.

▷ from now on /frəm ˌnaʊ ˈɒn/ [adverb]

use this to say that something will always happen in the future, starting from now :

▪ From now on, I’m not letting anyone borrow my car.

▪ From now on, you kids will have to make your own lunch.

▪ From now on, homeowners will have to get a city permit if they want to build an addition onto their homes.

▷ in future /ɪn ˈfjuːtʃəʳ/ [adverb] British

starting from now - use this especially to tell someone that they must do something starting from now :

▪ In future, I expect you to be at work no later than 9.15.

▪ In future, prisoners must serve at least half of their sentence before qualifying for any type of early release.

▷ in the long/short/medium term /ɪn ðə ˈlɒŋ, ˈʃɔːʳt, ˈmiːdiəm ˌtɜːʳmǁ-ˈlɔːŋ-/ [adverb]

use this to talk about what will happen over a period from now until a long, short etc time in the future :

▪ We don’t know what will happen in the long term.

▪ Aid to these countries is bound to run into billions of dollars in the long term.

▪ Analysts say the reports could have a major impact on the stock market in the short term.

long-/short-/medium-term [adjective]

▪ The country’s oil and natural gas reserves are capable only of meeting short-term needs.

2. at some time in the future

▷ in the future /ɪn ðə ˈfjuːtʃəʳ/ [adverb]

at some time in the future, but you do not know exactly when :

▪ It’s likely that global warming will become a major problem in the future.

▪ What do you think life in the future will be like?

in the near future

at a time not long from now

▪ The new software will be available in the UK in the near future.

in/for the foreseeable future

at a time not long from now

▪ It is unlikely that the company will achieve a very high profit margin in the foreseeable future.

▷ some time /ˌsʌm ˈtaɪm/ [adverb]

at a time in the future that has not been arranged yet :

▪ Come over and see us some time.

▪ We should get together some time.

some time next week/next year/in 2005 etc

▪ The project should be completed some time next year.

▷ one day/some day /ˌwʌn ˈdeɪ, ˌsʌm ˈdeɪ/ [adverb]

at some time in the future, especially a long time from now :

▪ Perhaps one day we could all go to London together.

▪ One day, I’d like to visit the Grand Canyon.

▪ She always knew that some day he would leave her.

▷ one of these days /ˌwʌn əv ðiːz ˈdeɪz/ [adverb]

at some time in the future - used especially when you think that something will probably happen or that someone will probably do something :

▪ One of these days you’re going to be sorry.

▪ Richard’s going to have a heart attack one of these days if he doesn’t slow down.

▷ the day will come (when) /ðə ˌdeɪ wɪl ˈkʌm (wen)/

use this to emphasize that something will definitely happen at some time in the future :

▪ The day will finally come when a woman or a black man is elected president of the United States.

▪ Let’s hope that the day will come when it’s no longer necessary to have such a vast amount of money spent on the military.

3. at a specific time in the future

▷ from now /frəm ˈnaʊ/ [adverb]

an hour/10 years/2 weeks etc from now

an hour, 10 years etc from the time when you are speaking :

▪ The package should arrive a few days from now.

▪ There may be no rainforest left 30 years from now.

▪ A couple of months from now, you’ll probably have forgotten all about him.

▷ then /ðen/ [adverb]

at a time in the future, that you have just mentioned :

▪ I should be finished work by noon. Would you like to get together then?

until then

▪ School starts in September, and until then I’ll be staying with friends.

▪ They’re sending the results next week, so I won’t know anything until then.

by then

▪ Tell him he has two weeks to finish the job. If he’s not finished by then, he’s fired.

▷ away/off /əˈweɪ, ɒfǁɔːf/ [adverb]

6 months/4 days/a week etc away/off

if something that you know will happen is 6 months, 4 days, a week etc away or off, it will happen after 6 months, 4 days, a week etc have passed :

▪ The next general elections are still two years away.

▪ Mary was desperately looking forward to her retirement, which was less than a year off.

▪ The wedding was more than a year away but she had already bought a dress for it.

▪ The exams are still a few weeks off -- you’ve got plenty of time to prepare for them.

▷ come July/summer/next year etc /kʌm dʒʊˈlaɪ/ spoken

say this when something will happen at a particular time in the future :

▪ Come Monday, we’ll be in our new house.

▪ A mild winter is nice, but it means that come summer you’re going to have a bug problem.

4. what will happen to someone or something in the future

▷ somebody’s future / somebodyˈs ˈfjuːtʃəʳ/

what will happen to someone in their job, life etc :

▪ I’m worried about my future.

▪ I had a meeting with my boss to discuss my future.

▪ You really should start thinking about your future. You’re not a child anymore.

▷ the future of something /ðə ˈfjuːtʃər əv something/

what will happen to something - use this especially to talk about whether something will be successful, will continue to exist etc :

▪ The memo refers to a meeting in Los Angeles, where the future of the network was discussed.

▷ fate /feɪt/ [countable noun usually singular]

what will happen to someone - used about an important official decision, or about an event in which something very bad happens :

▪ Congress will meet to discuss the fate of the US nuclear defense shield.

decide somebody’s/something’s fate

▪ The fate of the prisoners will be decided by a panel of three judges.

▪ He urged a nationwide referendum to decide the fate of the country.

somebody’s/something’s fate is sealed

fixed and definite

▪ His fate was sealed when The New York Times learned of the situation and began preparing an article about it.

seal the fate of

decide it definitely

▪ This afternoon’s debate is likely to seal the fate of the imprisoned aid workers.

▷ destiny /ˈdestɪni, ˈdestəni/ [countable noun usually singular]

what someone is going to do in their life and what is going to happen to them during it :

▪ The government wants to give people more control over their own destinies.

be somebody’s destiny to do something

▪ Susan wondered whether it was her destiny to marry Jorge and live in Mexico.

▷ the outlook /ði ˈaʊtlʊk/ [singular noun]

a general idea of what people expect to happen in the future, and whether they expect things to go well or badly :

▪ The economic outlook is better than it has been for several years.

long-range/short-range outlook

▪ Company officials insist the long-range outlook for share holders will be brighter.

the outlook for

▪ With drought conditions continuing, the outlook for farmers is not very good.

▷ prospect /ˈprɒspektǁˈprɑː-/ [countable noun]

the idea or possibility that something will happen in the future :

▪ I hope I never have to have a brain operation - it must be an appalling prospect.

the prospect of something/doing something

▪ The prospect of putting weapons in space is frightening to many people.

▪ I had read a great deal about Professor Chomsky and I felt very excited at the prospect of meeting him.

▪ We are facing the prospect of a very hard winter.

prospects for

▪ Prospects for a peace settlement in the region are not very hopeful at the moment.

5. likely to happen in the future

▷ be on the horizon /biː ɒn ðə həˈraɪz ə n/ [verb phrase]

if something, especially an important change or event, is on the horizon, it seems likely to happen at some time in the future :

▪ The prospect of real democracy is on the horizon for this Latin American country of 57 million.

▪ After two weeks of talks a solution to the dispute is finally on the horizon.

▷ be in store /biː ɪn ˈstɔːʳ/ [verb phrase]

if something unexpected such as a surprise or a sudden problem is in store for someone, it is soon going to happen to them :

be in store for

▪ There was a surprise in store for Paul when he got to his office.

▪ Russell said expulsion may be in store for some of the students involved in the fighting that broke out Friday.

what fate/the future holds in store (for somebody)

what is going to happen to someone in the future

▪ When she first arrived in the US she was afraid of what the future might hold in store for her here.

▪ None of us know what the future has in store.

6. likely to be or do something in the future

▷ future /ˈfjuːtʃəʳ/ [adjective only before noun]

▪ He’s an extremely talented football player -- he could well be a future captain of England.

▪ It was then that Milstead took the first steps toward a future career in law enforcement.

▪ Before the scandal erupted, Grieg was talked about as a future presidential candidate.

▷ potential /pəˈtenʃ ə l/ [adjective only before noun]

potential customer/client/witness etc

someone who might become a customer etc in the future :

▪ Police believe they may have found a potential witness.

▪ It’s wrong to regard all soccer fans as potential troublemakers -- it’s only a small minority who are responsible for the violence.

▪ By denying these people a decent education, you’re losing out on potential captains of industry and political leaders.

▷ prospective /prəˈspektɪv/ [adjective only before noun]

prospective candidate/employee/husband etc

one who wants to get or may be chosen for a job, position etc in the future :

▪ My mother keeps introducing me to men she considers to be prospective husbands.

▪ Texaco has introduced a compulsory HIV testing program for all prospective employees.

▷ in the making /ɪn ðə ˈmeɪkɪŋ/ [adjective phrase]

likely to do very well in your area of work or sport in the future :

▪ When I first saw her play tennis I knew that she was a future Wimbledon champion in the making.

▷ have a great/bright/brilliant etc future /hæv ə ˌgreɪt ˈfjuːtʃəʳ/

to be likely to be very successful in the future :

▪ She’s a very talented musician, and we think she has a great future.

▪ He’s obviously got a bright future in this organization.

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